Laurie Oakes has the reputation of being the people the politicians in Australia call before they do whatever they are about to do. Scuttlebutt around Julia Gillard’s deposing of then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was that Laurie came back from holidays a week early for “no apparent reason” the week of the event. He knew what was about to happen, he just may not have known exactly when.
His reputation preceeds him, people leak him significant details giving him rare insight into whatever the tone of the political sensation may be, & Laurie is connected. Young cadets want to have his contacts; editors of newsrooms want his analysis. He’s a giant(!) on the landscape of both the Australian media and Australian politics. If it happens & Laurie Oakes doesn’t know about it, it wasn’t worth knowing about.
Oakes has written a new book (On The Record: Politics, Politicians & Power) featuring some good writing around the Gillard rise to power and the 2010 election. He was on Lateline Friday 29/10/10 to promote it & face a grilling from the beautiful assassin Leigh Sales. They covered a plethora of topics: the media cyclone; journalistic sources & tips; best Prime Ministers to cover from the gallery – all topics from the book. The true insight came in the way Laurie Oakes reflected on the pressure on journalists & put by journalists (particularly on politicians) to ensure they have answers. Politicians are now very reticent to say they don’t know or don’t have the answer to hand, as this is perceived by the media as weakness. He even mentions his dalliances with Twitter.
It’s a brilliant interview – check it out on iView before it vanishes. Add the book to your Christmas list now.
Image Source: ABC, Hachette.